Why Is Legally Bound Set In Boston?

You may have been wondering—why is the Legally Bound series set in Boston?

When I first started His Contract, I knew I wanted to set the series in a city. Manhattan didn’t seem to work. Even though I’m from the area, spent several years working there and could’ve had the series take place there just for familiarity sake, the characters didn’t fit the New York City bill. When I imagined Jack with that beautiful New England accent…

…and teaching at Harvard (Hah-vahd) Law School, I knew that was where my series belonged.

Here’s the catch: I’ve never lived in Boston. Despite spending a lot of time in southern Maine, I didn’t have the real in-depth, personal knowledge I needed. And that meant research!

Thankfully my old friend and college roommate lives in Somerville, and each book required a different trip to go visit her. (Oh, darn it.)

Researching His Contract meant a trip to the Harvard Campus and Murr Athletic Center where Jack and Patrick play tennis. We even snapped a shot where Jack’s office would be in Griswold Hall. Next we went into the downtown area to find the building that would house our favorite imaginary law firm, Forrester, Schaeffer and Pierce. Following that, we investigated possible spots for Nick’s art gallery opening on Newbury street, and had a meal at Cask ‘n Flagon, the real Fenway-neighboring pub that was inspiration for my fictional Barrel ‘n’ Flask. We also made a stop at the Rosebud Cafe where Jack and Lilly have that first fateful coffee date.

Boston is also an excellent foodie city (brunches there are a thing you don’t want to miss), and I knew I’d be featuring a lot of restaurants in the series.

Her Claim’s research trip required finding a lot of restaurants including City Bar, the initial “scene of the crime” for Patrick and Cassie, Bond, the spot where he meets Hudson, and Tunnel, the nightclub that was the inspiration for Pleasure. Finding Patrick and Cassie’s apartments took some hitting-the-pavement work. A massive thank you goes out to my roomie for driving, and my hubs for being patient every time I yelled “Stop!” and made them get out of the car. We found Patrick’s apartment along Memorial Drive by the Charles River, Cassie’s building in Brookline, and then went to the Financial District to find the skyrise where Dunham & Strauss is set in. Part of Her Claim took place in Miami as well, which required its own research trip.

Because of time constraints, the research trip for Their Discovery was a bit shorter, but I did get to tour around Newton and pick out where Sam and Brady wold live, as well as the park they bring their kids to, and the warehouse where Helios would be. I cheated a little bit on the dungeon though—that scene is based entirely off my own personal experience in NYC.

Now that the series is complete, I know why Boston was the perfect backdrop. It’s a city with amazing history, with its roots in the American Revolution, and has been the birthplace of many American leaders. It’s home to some of the top universities in the world, and some of the most well-known sports teams. Even its architecture is a combination of old against new, and I love the mix of of industrial, financial, suburban and seacoast areas combined. In essence, I love that dirty water. Boston, you’re my series’ home.

Want other reasons to love Boston? Check out Boston Magazine’s 40 Reasons to Love Boston and Thrillist’s 21 things you have to explain to out-of-towners about Boston.

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